Axum

 

Gander - Castles

 

Lake Tana

 

Lalibela

 

Simien Mountains

Ethiopia's Main Attractions:

 

  • Lalibela - in Ethiopia's central highlands, is now the size of a large village, but in the 12th century it was a major holy city. Today, visitors to Lalibela come to marvel at the unique churches built out of solid rock.

  • Axum,  Ethiopia's most ancient city and the capital of the historic Axumite state, is the site of many remarkable monolithic stone stelae, or obelisks, the three most  important being decorated to represent multi-storied buildings, complete with doors and windows.

    The largest  obelisk, which was 35 meters long and weighed 500 tons, is the biggest piece of  stone ever cut by humanity anywhere in the world but today it lies broken on the ground. Near it stands a smaller but nevertheless most impressive 24-metre-high obelisk - the pride of Ethiopia. A somewhat larger obelisk was taken to Rome, on  the orders of the Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, in 1937, but its  return to Axum is expected. Plans are also under consideration for the re-erection of the fallen obelisk.

  • Bahar Dar - A small town set on the south - eastern shore of lake Tana, where local fishermen still use papyrus boats, and just 30 km from the spectacular Tissisat Falls. Here the Blue Nile creates " Smoking Water" an awe-inspiring sight as it plunges into the gorge below.

    From Bahar Dar one must explore some of the ancient monasteries that have been built around Lake Tana, or on the many Islands. These include Dek Stephanos with its priceless collections of icons, as well as the remains of several medieval emperors, Kebran Gabriel and Ura Kidane Mehret with its famous frescoes. The colourful local market at Bahir Dar is renowned for its weavers and wood workers.

  • Addis Ababa - Ethiopia's bustling capital is a sprawling city that takes some getting used to. Mud huts, Italian architecture, glitzy hotels, cathedrals and marxist billboards provide the backdrop to Africa's fourth largest city.

  • Simien Mountains - home to the rare Gelada baboon, the Simien Mountains in northern Ethiopia are a trekkers dream. Many summits rise above 4,000 meters, and there are plenty spectacular waterfalls and gorges.

  • Gondar - Founded in 1635 Gondar is famous for its many medieval castles and beautifully decorated churches.